This Hardee’s commercial both fascinates me and bothers me. Obviously, the message is, “Hey! NASCAR loving men! Don’t bake biscuits. You’re betraying your gender if you do so, and other NASCAR loving men will ostracize you if you choose to bake them (delicious) biscuits instead of watching the big race.” I noticed several things about this particular commercial:
- These dudes really are really turned off by either men baking or biscuits. They look like they’re about to jump their culinary comrade and destroy his soul over these biscuits. Maybe he should have made them cupcakes or a nice crème brule.
- The guy baking really doesn’t seem to be all that into NASCAR to begin with. He clearly missed the key moment that caused intense testosterone-inspired displays such as: jumping over a chair, screaming, high-five-ing, and hiding your face in the palms of your hands in shame. He gets major points for not being a true NASCAR fan. He’s the most likeable character in this slice of life.
- The voice-over man is confusing. He is either saying “Guys…don’t bake” or “Guys, don’t bake.” I’m fairly confident it’s the former. I know guys who bake—I’m sure you do too. The second statement might just be a friendly reminder to guys that they shouldn’t bake because Hardee’s is there to bake for them. I don’t know about you, but I would be much more inclined to attend to a viewing of a NASCAR game (race? Match? Tournament?) if there were freshly baked biscuits. It’s the love that counts.
Let’s not beat around the bush anymore. What the fuck, Hardee’s? The message here is simple-- “buy your biscuit products at Hardee’s. By all means don’t bake them. If you do, your friends will think you’re queer.” This is bullshit Hardee’s. Baking does not a homosexual make. Furthermore, statistics released by Gallup on May 25, 2010 show that not only is acceptance of homosexuality in the US on the rise (it crossed the 50% threshold for the first time this year) but also MEN are more accepting of homosexuals than women are. Your commercial just doesn’t make sense—argumentatively, socially, or statistically. I mean, who really watches NASCAR with that much enthusiasm?
Masculinity, anymore, is hard to define, and regardless of how a man performs it, he can, and probably will, be looked down upon. Those men who choose to occupy the space of the traditional male gender roles can face opposition from others who see their ways as antiquated, oppressive, or even barbaric. Those whose gender performance is non-traditional are shunned from a society that values strength, virility, and occasionally callousness in their men. When it comes to gender roles, for both men and women, it seems to always be a losing situation. The truth of it is, you will never be loved, liked, or even tolerated by everyone. It just really sucks when others make those decisions based on the arbitrary constructions of gender. Thanks, Hardee’s.